Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Dad Is One Tough Guy

This blog is suppose to document my mom's illness but as a family we are tightly woven and I want to tell my dad's story also. Dad has lived on the same farm his entire life...82 years old. Without mom by his side he now lives alone. His mind is sound and he has many friends and he loves to be on the farm. We sold the cows two years ago before mom went in to the nursing home but up until then at age 80 and mom at 74 they had cows, chickens, dogs, cats and Guinea hens. Every summer there was a huge garden with enough corn to feed the community.
Obviously things have slowed down. The cows are gone and the pasture is grown up but today when I kept calling my dad on the phone wondering where he was...finally this afternoon he calls to report in..."I put on the mower and I have been in the back by the pond. Mowing the trails. It's beautiful back there. You should see the color of the maples, aspen and oaks." This short conversation brought a smile to my face. Dad at age 82 is still able to get out and ride the tractor.

O.k. there is more to his story. Dad has been the town Dump/Recycling Attendant for more years then we can count. What does this involve?? Each Saturday and Sunday, he sits by the town garage and directs community members as they bring in their refuse. This job involves helping people with their bags but the important part is the conversation and social outlet it has become for several. People come to the dump to see dad and bring him beer, pie, soup, sandwiches and a variety of goodies. He brings home lots of treasures to say the least. He is a town icon...people look for Donnie as they pass the town garage and see his truck...they are glad to see he is still there meeting and greeting people.

Well, on Sept 3 that is just what my dad was doing. Meeting & greeting neighbors...then a guy rides up on a bicycle...he says he is thirsty and dad tells him to get a water from the truck...people come and go...and dad offers the guy a coke...he goes to the cooler and sees the beer and asks,"Can I have this beer instead?" Of course dad agrees and then he asks to sit next to dad...the neighbors have all left and it is just dad with this guy...Then the guy says he has to go to the bathroom...Dad tells him to go behind the dumpster. Dad said it seemed to take awhile for him to come back but then he sees something from the opposite side of his head and then dad realizes that the guy is beating him in the head with a rock...Dad falls to the ground and is bleeding and the guy kicks him several times in the head. Dad yells, "What the hell is wrong with you??" He takes dad's knife and keys and gets in the truck and drives right by dad lying in the driveway.

With in minutes someone comes by and sees dad. The ambulance is called and he is rushed to St. Mary's hospital in Duluth. On this same morning, I have a very nice visit with my mom at the nursing home and I think of dad at his job visiting his friends and I am comforted to know that he is where he should be enjoying the day. I leave mom and meet a friend for lunch and then the phone call from my husband. "Donna, You've got to come home. Your dad has been in an altercation and they are taking him to the hospital. We've got to go now.??????????????????What?

This was the beginning of some very challenging days. Dad was bruised badly and his head was swollen like a pumpkin. The guy and the truck have not been found. There are many details to this story but the main thing is three weeks later...

Dad is out riding his tractor mowing the trails enjoying the fall colors. Yes, My Dad Is One Tough Guy. May God continue to bless him with good health and good friends.